Biden’s Climate Adviser Earned $1 Million From Natural Gas Company (Sludge)
Current 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden has a “middle-ground” climate approach that will promote natural gas, potentially enriching his adviser’s former employer.
News broke on Friday morning that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden is crafting a “middle ground” climate policy that will seek to restore Obama-era environmental protections, focusing on rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, increasing fuel efficiency, boosting natural gas, and deploying carbon-capture technology.
But there’s already a potential conflict of interest: Former Obama adviser Heather Zichal, who recently occupied a lucrative seat on the board of the Texas-based liquified natural gas (LNG) company Cheniere Energy, is now an “informal adviser” on climate change policy to the Biden campaign. The company has profited in recent years as the U.S. has increased its liquified natural gas production, something the Obama and Trump administrations have encouraged.
In 2013, while a climate and energy staffer in Obama’s White House, Zichal met with Cheniere officials twice, according to DeSmog. The year before, Cheniere became the first company to receive an LNG export permit from the Obama administration—and the first to receive such a permit in 50 years. She joined the Cheniere board in 2014. According to investigative reporter Nick Surgey, Zichal earned a total of nearly $1.1 million from compensation and stock while a Cheniere board member from 2014-18.